A DIY guide on how to make concrete planters | homify

A DIY guide on how to make concrete planters

Naia Carlos Naia Carlos
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As a material, concrete is simple, stark and straight-forward. It’s quite plain, but this doesn’t take away from the undeniable charm as a design piece. In modern digs, concrete often finds itself as part of the interiors as unusual living accessories.

One way it can be used inside the home is as planters. The simplicity of concrete can be a beautiful contrast to nature, giving the space a stunning contemporary touch. Best of all, any homeowner can create a pot made from concrete with materials readily available. While its easy to enlist a professional to do it or even purchase store ones, making planters with your own two hands is much more satisfying and fun – especially if the whole family pitches in!

Here, Homify presents a handy guide on how to make do-it-yourself concrete planters. Whether you want to make small pots for cactuses or large ones for the garden, our DIY instructions can help beginners craft pretty concrete planters easily in just six simple steps.

Before starting, it’s important that you make sure you have all the following materials:

- concrete screed from the hardware store

- kitchen or work gloves 

- paraffin oil or another lubricant

- molds or cartons & shears for making molds

- a bucket or wheelbarrow for mixing

- glass flakes, glass beads, shells, pebbles, if necessary

- plastic film or plastic bag

1. Select the mold

In making do-it-yourself concrete pots, you need an outer and an inner mold. While it’s important that both sport the same shape, make sure that it has different sizes with the smaller one fitting into the larger mold and leaving about 5 cm of space in between. This gap will be filled with concrete and will thus determine the thickness of your pot. For large planters over 60 cm in height and width, make sure that your DIY concrete planter is at least 7.5 cm thick.

Store-bought molds are available, but you can opt for DIY molds by making two boxes from cardboard. This way, you get to customize the size and shape of the molds. You’ll end up with a concrete planter that is exactly what you want. Great materials for molds include glass, plastic, cardboard, stainless steel or styrofoam.

2. Prepare the inside of the molds

The inside of the molds – the side that will be in direct contact with concrete – should be thoroughly greased with paraffin oil, sunflower oil or some other lubricant. This will make it easier to release your DIY concrete planter from the mold once its ready. For glass molds, it also keeps the glass from shattering when you remove the pot.

If you have the time and patience, several molds could keep your indoor plant collection much more interesting to look at! Try different shapes and sizes. Not only will it look great inside the house or displayed out in the garden, these babies also make original gifts for friends and family.

3. Mix the concrete

Always wear kitchen or work gloves to protect your hands during this next step. Mix the concrete mass in a bucket or a wheelbarrow – or according to the instructions, if available. As you pour in the concrete, add water gradually while stirring. Make sure you have the proper mixing ratio, which you will find it on the packaging of your concrete mixture.

For a beautiful effect, you can add glass shards, pretty stones, shells, pearls or other decorative materials to the mix. However, make sure that the overall consistency of the concrete remains the same even with the additional elements.

4. Pour the concrete into the mold

With the casting of the concrete, pour the concrete mixture slowly and evenly on bottom of the outer mold to create the base of your DIY concrete planter. Smooth the concrete with a tool like a spatula, then place the inner mold on the concrete mix. Press them on the concrete until you reach the thickness that you want your pot to have. The bottom and walls should be roughly as thick as each other. While the floor can be slightly thicker than the walls, the walls cannot be bigger than the floor or it will become unstable. Finally, pour the remaining concrete between the two molds. Tap the mixture with a spatula to keep bubbles from forming. Once you’ve poured to the top, smooth the surface with the spatula to make it even.

If you plan to have drainage holes, you can wait two to seven days – when the concrete has dried – before drilling a hole on the bottom of the planter.

5. Leave standing

Now comes the waiting period. Wrap the pots and the molds in a plastic tarpaulin or a plastic bag. Leave it for at least 36 hours. Test the dryness of the concrete with a knife or corkscrew. If you can penetrate into the bucket, the concrete is still too wet and must be left out a little longer.

6. Remove the planter from the mold

Once the concrete is dry, slowly release your plant bucket from the mold. With sandpaper, you can sand the surface and smooth it.

After it’s released from the mold, the bucket should be left to dry thoroughly for a whole week. Once a day, rub the plant pot with a wet sponge or cloth until the color darkens. After its dried for over two days, you can drill the drainage holes.

That’s it! Now you’ve got your modern-style DIY concrete planter. Find a good spot for your plants around the house or even displayed outdoors, with a pot that you made with your own two hands.

For more do-it-yourself projects, find all about Woodworking DIY: How to repair and restore wood in your house.

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